IDC: Foreign Brands Dominate China’s 3D-Printer Market, but China Desktop Brands Making Some Gains

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stratasys multi filament printer

Objects produced with Stratasys’ multi-filament printer.

Based on its latest report, China 3D Printing Market Analysis 2014-2015, market-research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) announced today that the fastest-growing 3D-printer market – China – continues to be dominated by foreign brands, although Chinese vendors are catching up and growing faster.

According to IDC, the top five players in China’s 3D-printer market in terms of revenue are all foreign brands, namely EOS, Stratasys, Renishaw, ZRapid, and Solidscape. However, IDC says more Chinese vendors placed in the top-five for China’s desktop 3D-printer market due to their “competitive print quality and prices.” Foreign brands Stratasys (which also markets Makerbot 3D printers) and 3D systems topped the list, but the rest of the top-five in this category belong to Chinese vendors Xery, Flashforge, and Beijing Tiertime.

“Foreign brands’ maturity in the technology, print stability, and print quality help them maintain their top positions in the market. But the gap between foreign brands and local brands is narrowing as local vendors ramp-up their effort to improve their printer’s performance and quality,” commented Wendy Mok, research manager of IDC’s Imaging, Printing and Document Solutions research.

In terms of China’s export market for desktop 3D printers, the top-three brands, Flashforge, Beijing Tiertime, and Winbo, account for 50 percent of the market. The large export revenue from Chinese vendors is driven by the price competitiveness of made-in-China 3D printers and the demand to provide OEM services to foreign brands.

“China vendors who are targeting mid-level to high-end users in China and the foreign market will need to start looking at more than just hardware prices as vendors need to incorporate software and services as part of their portfolios. Traditionally, the competitive advantage of Chinese brands in the overseas market is their relatively low price as compared with foreign vendors. New users will always opt for cheaper hardware to test out, while existing users that have gained the experience and knowledge in integrating 3D printers into their businesses will tend to opt for foreign brands,” said Mok.

3D printing is one of six innovation accelerators that IDC believes will fast-track digital transformation in the marketplace. With the support from “Made in China 2025” Master Plan and the 13th Five-Year Plan, it’s expected to continue growing in the coming years. However, IDC says it’s not without key challenges that must be addressed in order for vendors to achieve success in this burgeoning market.

In IDC’s upcoming Directions 2016 event to be held in Shenzhen, China, Keith Kmetz, program vice president of IDC’s Imaging, Printing & Document Solutions research, will deliver a session on “Finding Success in 3D Printing” on April 15th. This session discusses IDC’s 3D-printer market vision as well as tactics to consider for maximizing its potential.

The IDC Asia Pacific/China ICT Direction 2016 Roadshow will be held in Shenzhen on April 15th from 08:30-16:30 at Shenzhen Road 9009, Overseas Chinese Town. To register, visit IDC here.

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